I have a tin of paint that has split - or on other words there's a thin (7-8mm) layer of translucent liquid on the top. The instructions say 'do NOT stir' (their emphasis, not mine). I'm not really sure if this means 'there's no need to stir' or 'the paint won't perform well if stirred'. What's the best to proceed? If I just ignore the liquid and continue as normal then I end up with oily liquid all over the wall. Should I just ignore the warning and stir the paint and then apply as normal? or should attempt to decant the liquid off the top, without actually stirring?

The paint is 'dulux non-drip white gloss'. It's only a few months old, I used a small amount of paint shortly after buying it (worked fine) and since then it's been stored in accordance with the instructions.

  • 2
    I've never seen a paint that you cannot stir, with clear polyurethanes they'll tell you not to shake as it will introduce bubbles. Can you post a photo of the can?
    – matt.
    Nov 4, 2023 at 13:16
  • 1
    One tip: With really old finishes, test it on a scrap (or on a stirring stick) before using it. Occasionally you'll get something which has changed enough over the years to no longer cure as expected, and you want to find that out before using it where it matters.
    – keshlam
    Nov 4, 2023 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


This is a solvent based paint and what you're seeing is the separation of the solvent from the solids and the rest of the mixture.

That being said, in all the years I have been painting I have never seen a product you could not stir, some will say not to shake. For example, some clear polyurethanes and clear coats will advise against shaking as it will introduce bubbles.

I looked up your specific product and went through the SDS, was unable to track down a TDS to review application instructions.

I would be inclined to shake it up if it specifically states to not stir it. That is the only other way you can remix the solvents.

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